College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu shared the following message with students regarding the university’s safety protocols for COVID-19 as the institution prepares to begin the fall 2021 semester next week:
I would like to update you on the latest COVID-19 protocols and procedures for campus as we officially begin the fall 2021 semester next week. The risk posed by the virus is still very much among us, and we have to continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) guidelines, of which our own mitigation protocols are based on, in order to best minimize the risks and keep our campus as safe and healthy as possible.
Let me start with some very simple guidance:
- If you have not already done so, get vaccinated.
- If you are indoors and around others, join me and mask up! Face masks are required indoors, around others.
- Take advantage of the free and frequent testing events on campus, and if you feel sick, stay home and get tested.
Joining together and following these steps out of respect for our community and each other, we will have a safe and productive semester. Below are more specific updates on our Fall 2021 COVID-19 mitigation plan. This information is also available on the College’s Back on the Bricks website.
Vaccinations for Students
- Students are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.
- Free vaccination clinics will be made available to students twice a week once classes start through Student Health Services (181 Calhoun Street) based on student demand.
- In addition, students may find numerous free clinics near campus and throughout the Charleston region.
- The College has created incentive campaigns for vaccinated students. Incentives will include scholarships for students. Details on this program will be provided in a separate communication.
- Only those who have submitted proof of vaccination will be eligible for these incentives. Submit your documentation here: go.cofc.edu/vax-upload
- Note: per state law, the College of Charleston is not allowed to discriminate based on COVID-19 vaccination status.
- The College is requiring the wearing of face masks while around others, indoors.
- All students are required to submit a negative COVID-19 test before returning to campus.
- There are two exemptions to this requirement:
- Students who have submitted documentation of a COVID-19 vaccination, or
- Students who have submitted a positive COVID-19 test from the last 90 days.
- Ongoing testing will be offered on a weekly basis throughout the semester.
- In conjunction with this weekly testing, to help track the overall health and safety of the campus, the College is working with public health partners on a surveillance testing protocol. Additional details regarding surveillance testing will be shared in the coming days.
- NOTE: Per state law, the College is NOT allowed to mandate testing for unvaccinated students, with the exception of the arrival testing.
Quarantine and Isolation Protocol for Students
- Vaccinated students who have close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual will not have to quarantine automatically.
- They will be asked to closely monitor symptoms; should symptoms develop, they will need to notify Student Health Services and be tested.
- Non-vaccinated students who have close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual will have to quarantine for 10 days and be tested.
- If they become symptomatic or test positive, they will isolate for 10 days from the date of the positive test.
- Please note: any student (regardless of vaccination status) who tests positive for COVID-19 will need to isolate.
- Classes that were not initially created as fully online will be conducted in a face-to-face manner at their scheduled time and location.
- In classes where there are a series of COVID-19 absences, faculty may elect to move the section to a fully online mode for the duration of the time the students are in quarantine.
- Students in quarantine or isolation should make arrangements with their professors to keep up on their coursework.
Student Events and Activities
- In general, indoor events or activities are limited to no more than 50 people or the capacity of the room, whichever is less.
- Outdoor events should be limited to a size appropriate for the space that allows for proper social distancing.
- All events should strongly encourage social distancing and the wearing of face masks.
- Food should be pre-packaged and served as “grab-and-go” as appropriate.
- Sottile Theater, Athletics and Dining Services will continue to follow their respective COVID-19 protocols and are, therefore, exempt from the above event restrictions.
Office Space and Meeting Protocol
- All campus offices are open, but in smaller offices and lobbies, signage may direct people not to congregate and, within reason, to limit the number of people in a particular space.
- Virtual meetings will continue, as appropriate.
As always, please refer to the Back on the Bricks website for the College’s latest updates on our COVID-19 procedures and protocols.
Andrew T. Hsu, Ph.D.
College of Charleston